U2 Tribute Band, HOLLYWOOD U2 Opens Up About How They Came to Be and Why U2 Is Such an Iconic Group!
Posted On 25 May 2015
Tag: All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, AXS TV, Bono, Craigslist, Double Vision, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, Frank Sinatra, Gary Anthony, Hollywood Bono, Hollywood U2, Huey Lewis and the News, Joe Hier, Johnny Cash, Katie Daryl, Mikhail Davies, Mirage, Natural Wonder, On The Border, Philip Bauer, Rose Bowl 360 Show, Roy Murray, Simon Hewson, Stevie Adams, Stevie Wonder, Super Huey, The Edge, Tribute Band, U2, Ultra Violet Light My Way, Unforgettable Fire, Vertigo, West Hollywood, Whiskey A Go-Go, With Or Without You, World's Greatest Tribute Bands, ZOO TV
This year, season 5 of AXS TV’s The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands was hosted once again by Katie Daryl. The one-hour LIVE concert series featured bands performing tributes to some of music’s most iconic acts of all time. From the world famous stage at Whiskey A Go-Go, The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands aired 100% LIVE. Season 5 was full of incredible acts and is unfortunately over now but check out AXS TV site for the next season.
Check out the Season 5 line up:
Frank Sinatra tribute by Gary Anthony
Fleetwood Mac tribute by Mirage
Stevie Wonder tribute by Natural Wonder
Foreigner tribute by Double Vision
U2 tribute by Hollywood U2
Johnny Cash tribute by Philip Bauer
Eagles tribute by On The Border
Huey Lewis and the News tribute by Super Huey
All Access was lucky to catch the U2 tribute band, Hollywood U2 perform at the Whiskey A Go-Go! They were absolutely phenomenal and could very easily be mistaken for the real deal!
The lead singer of Hollywood U2, Joe Hier, took some time to answer a questions before the show:
Joe Hier aka Hollywood Bono – Lead Vocals, Guitar and Harmonica
Stevie Adams – Lead Guitar and Vocals
Mikhail Davies – Bass
Roy Murray – Drums and Vocals
How did you all come together and start this band?
Back in November of 2003 I (Hier) started the group up after putting an ad on Craigslist. The bass player (Davies) has been in the band since the start. There have been multiple drummers and guitar players throughout the years but we have had our current lineup for the past three years, which has been the best line up ever.
Why did you become a U2 tribute band? Is U2 a favorite band of everyone in the group?
Everybody in the band loves U2 and grew up with the music of U2. Personally U2’s music really connected with me so much so that, at first, I was reluctant to the thought of being Bono as I wanted to make sure that we would do justice to U2’s music. I’m always striving to perfect our sound and performance. I started the group because friends told me how much I look like Bono and found out, by performing with a friends band back in Boston 15 years ago, I can actually sing like him too! And with the crowd loving it, then the question was, “why not?”
I especially love bringing the iconic tours of U2 like ZOO TV & Vertigo to younger generations of U2 fans that never got the chance to experience them. U2 fans of all ages love being able to re-live great moments from those tours and hear music that spans U2’s over 30 year career, we play music from their first album right up to their current newest releases.
I feel like it’s a combination of their songs and their personas. Bono is a great man doing all he can to change what he feels is wrong in the world and that is really the best thing anyone can do, and The Edge is a Guitar Scientist. It’s great having a guitarist who can actually really fill those converse sneakers.
What are some of your all-time favorite U2 songs? What are your favorites to play?
“With Or Without You” is my favorite U2 song. I love performing them all. There are just so many amazing moments to be had that it’s hard to pin just a few down but as I said, “With or Without You” as well as “Unforgettable Fire” and “Ultra Violet Light My Way” are a few of my favorites.
Have you guys gotten any recognition at all from any of the U2 members?
Not as of yet but I am good friends with Bono’s cousin Simon Hewson. He called me to work on a project with him five years ago and we’ve remained friends. He took the band to the Rose Bowl 360 show and he is actually taking my manager and me to the U2 show here in LA.
Do people ever think that you are actually U2?
Yes, it has happened! I know I should be flattered but instead it makes me feel uncomfortable.
What does it mean for you guys to be performing on AXS TV’s “World’s Greatest Tribute Bands” Series?
It means a lot. It’s kind of like a pat on the back in a way saying “nice job” just being chosen. It has been great to use the logo in marketing and promoting and it’s kind of like holding a title in a way too. Not that it’s a competition but we do think we’re the best U2 tribute band in the world and we can’t thank [host and producer] Katie Daryl enough for finding us and giving us the stage to prove it. She’s awesome and a true professional and we’re going make her so proud she will know it was a good move to have us back for a second performance.
If you weren’t touring in this band, what would you guys be doing?
All members in the band are really accomplished musicians so whatever we would be doing it would be in or around music. I am also an artist and when I am not playing or singing, I often have my hands in clay and like to sculpt and animate.
Do any of you have any side projects or record original solo material when you aren’t working on Hollywood U2 stuff?
Everyone in the band has been in the studio one time or another. I have produced records throughout the years for talented people I’ve met. It has been a great experience for me and I’ve grown a lot as a musician and producer from doing that. As of recently though, I have an unbelievable claymation children’s show I am working on now with my fiancé. I was a carpenter for a long time and it’s been great to put my skills to work on this project in such a gratifying way and it’s going to make a lot of people happy. Our bass player Mikhail produces a lot artists and music for TV and Film and Stevie Adams, our Edge, has played with a number of well-known musicians and also recorded music for TV and video games. Roy Murray our drummer, who was born in Dublin, also plays in an Irish band with his father.
What’s been some of your favorite experiences so far?
-Hearing people say things like, “I didn’t really like U2 that much but after seeing you I love them. I get it now.” I have had fans that have travelled far to see the band and sometimes you don’t realize how much our shows mean to people, one fan was going through health issues and having to undergo a high risk surgery and had his friends drive him to see the band before he went in for his surgery. He wrote me and told me how he had followed the band for years and what joy it brought him. The list goes on. Oh but of course one of the best things is when a U2 fan reluctantly goes to a show to check us out wanting to hate the band not quite getting the tribute scene, but by the end of the show they are telling me how much we sound like U2 and how they loved it, that makes me smile.
-Of course traveling to amazing places has been a big upside. We’ve been fortunate to travel the world performing U2’s music and throughout the United States
-The honor of being chosen for AXS TV’s “The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands” TV series.
-I met my fiancé Loli while performing. I’m looking forward to an amazing future with this incredible woman. She now owns and manages the band with me as well and the band has come a very long way in a short time since she’s been on board. Her incredible work really helped put Hollywood U2 on the map the way it should be.